See the eclipse at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán

It’s not every day that a solar eclipse passes over North America and peaks in Mexico, but it does this year on April 8. To celebrate the extraordinary event, Pueblo Bonito Resorts’ ARMONÍA Wellness Collection has created a three-day “Solar Rebirth: Eclipse and Well-Being in Mazatlán” program, running April 6 – 8. Mazatlán, which sits squarely on the path of totality, will be the best place in the world to glimpse the full glory of the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, visible only when the sun is completely covered by the moon. Both Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa and Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán Beach Resort are turning the special event into a wellness and relaxation experience in beautiful surroundings. A recent trend report in Conde Nast Traveler calls it astro tourism, noting, “In 2024, travelers will be putting what’s important to them front and center of their plans, valuing deeper experiences that leave a positive impact, time spent with loved ones, and wellness moments that last well after checkout,” the report stated. “We’ll be choosing destinations carefully, slowing it down to enjoy the silence and the stars…and immersing ourselves in wellness practices that help us live longer.” Emerald Bay’s program begins April 6 with a workshop on the astrological meaning of the eclipse, followed by a yoga and meditation session, and then dinner under the stars that will culminate with stories and legends told around a campfire. Day 2 begins with stretching in the pool, followed by a solar and lunar cycle workshop, an eclipse visualization workshop, and an afternoon aqua yoga session. An All-White Party with a themed dinner buffet begins the evening, followed by guided meditation. April 8 includes a morning meeting, meditation, and yoga, leading up to 10:16 a.m., the moment of the solar eclipse. A closing ceremony and group reflection will be followed with a celebration brunch. The schedule at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán is similar. Most events are free. NOTE: Guests must wear specialized protective glasses when viewing the eclipse.

(800) 990-8259; www.pueblobonito.com


Scottsdale, AZ has Sizzling Summer Heat promotion for bookings.

Scottsdale, AZ isn’t pretending that temperatures in the city don’t soar during summer months, but they want to cool down the heat by offering a Sizzling Summer Rebate Program, based on having a minimum of 125 total group rooms and actualizing during these time periods: May 27 – September 13, 2024; May 26 – September 12, 2025; and May 25 – September 11, 2026. The RFP must be sourced through Experience Scottsdale. Total rebate, up to $5,000 max, is credited to the client’s master bill. Rebates only apply to new meetings and there must be written confirmation of eligibility from Experience Scottsdale.


Tommy Bahama Miramonte’s new olive tree lined patio.

Book your next meeting or event at Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa (Indian Wells, CA) for April 15 – September 30, with low rates and no resort fee. 35,000 sf of versatile indoor and outdoor spaces.

www.tommybahamamiramonte.com/meetings-social-events/; (442) 305-4533; sales@tbmiramonte.com

Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL

Book any group meeting or event at the Walt Disney World Swam and/or Dolphin (Lake Buena Vista, FL) by December 24 this year and used by December 31, 2025 and you can receive Triple Marriott Bonvoy™ Points, complimentary Planning Meeting for up to 12 Guests for up to two nights, round trip airport transfers, F&B, and a VIP Epcot Fireworks Yacht Cruise for up to 12 guests.


TradeWinds Island Resorts (St. Petersburg, FL) has a great offer.

The beaches of St. Petersburg, FL may be a strong attraction, but in this case, perhaps the reason to book one of the TradeWinds Island Resorts could be the promotional incentive to book your group’s meeting by December 20. The meeting for a minimum of 50 rooms on peak must also be used by December 20. There are at least a dozen incentives offered, and when you book, you get to choose six of them. Incentives may include 4% rebate to the master, donation to the charity of your choice; 10% discount on published Banquet Food & Beverage spend; 10% discount on published A/V spend; Complimentary break for staff office; or a Complimentary 2-night stay certificate for meeting planner.


Visit Plano Foodie Pass

Visit Plano (Plano, TX) has an offer designed for foodies. Receive a Free and limited time foodie pass when you accumulate points by checking into participating restaurants and redeeming coupons. Then you cash in your points for prizes provided by Visit Plano. Check in to 20 restaurants and be automatically entered into the “Fit for a Foodie” sweepstakes. First place: certificate for a Charcuterie Board Making Class led by the Executive Chef for six people at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West and $500 in restaurant gift cards. Second place winner gets a one-night weekend stay at the Hilton/Dallas Plano Granite Park and $250 in restaurant gift cards. Third place winner will receive a one-night weekend stay at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center and $100 in restaurant gift cards. Go to visitplano.com/tasteofplano and register for free. Open the pass from the received text or email and follow the directions to add the button icon to your home screen. Do NOT forget this step. Then go eat and accumulate points!


Book any new convention or meeting through Visit Winston-Salem (NC) by June 30 for a stay in any year and receive up to $3,000 in Travel Back Rewards towards a future meeting. Book through 299 room nights and receive $500 credit, but if you book at least 499 room nights and get $1,500 in credits. Book more than 500 room nights and receive $3,000 in credits.


Save 20%* on four-nights at a Universal Orlando Hotel by booking by December 15. Travel dates April 7-May 23, May 27-November 26, and December 1-19.


Decorated Grand Ballroom at the recently renovated Woodlands Resort (Houston, TX)

Book the recently renovated Woodlands Resort (Houston, TX) with new business by April 15 and receive double points and up to 1% rebate to the master bill for up to 100 total room nights. The more room nights, the better the incentives. Woodlands Resort is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. It has 402 rooms; 75,000 sf of meeting space divided among 55 unique venues and sits on 350 acres.

www.woodlandsresort.com/meetings/; (281) 364-6389.

Florida and Georgia residents only: Buy a 2-Park 1-Day Park-to-Park and get two days free at Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Islands of Adventure. (Hint: if you are a Harry Potter Wizarding World fan as I am, you must have tickets to both parks to receive the full experience). Must be used by June 26, 2024. Blackout dates March 25through April 6. Unused days will be forfeited. Guest must present valid proof of Florida or Georgia residency at time of purchase, ticket pick-up and redemption. This promo is only online.


Desolation Canyon UT) is an adventure including rafting and history.

Planners who book a group for a Western River Expeditions’ rafting adventure in 2024 get the entire trip for free.  The charters are for river rafting trips in Southern Utah destinations such as Desolation Canyon and Cataract Canyon as well as through Moab. Early bird bookings have the best selection of departure dates and destinations. User-friendly links also come with supplemental trip information, all designed to make the organizer’s task stress-free. Each group member uses this private link to sign up and pay for their own reservation. “A private charter is a great option for groups ranging from extended family to corporate to non-profit. The benefit of going with your own group is the promise of building deeper bonds through shared adventures with family, co-workers, or others. Salt Lake City-based Western River Expeditions offers one of the few travel experiences that allows everyone to be doing the same thing at the same time in an extraordinary place – with absolutely no distractions,” says Brandon Lake, co-owner and CMO.
https://www.westernriver.com/group-rafting-trip; (866) 904-1160 (Local: (801) 942-6669); http://www.westernriver.com/.

Wyndham Alltra Vallarta La Costa Restaurant

The all-inclusive market in Mexico and the Caribbean just received a boost from Playa Hotels & Resorts with the completion of extensive renovations at the newly renamed Wyndham Alltra Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. To celebrate the grand unveiling, Wyndham Alltra Vallarta if offering a 40% discount on bookings, valid for stays through December 20, 2024. Owner and operator of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, Playa Hotels & Resorts has drawn inspiration for the property (formerly known as Wyndham Alltra Riviera Nayarit) from ancient Huichol culture. The renovation includes 159 rooms, including all Junior Suites. The Alltra VIP Club for club level guests has speeded up its semi-private check-in (and out) service, enhanced its concierge assistance and personalized cocktail service. Club guestrooms receive upgraded minibars, in-suite Nespresso coffee makers and a complimentary hydrotherapy spa experience. Five dining venues have been revamped. The brand introduces its new Agave Bar and the first Mezcaleria in the chain’s portfolio.

www.AlltraByPlaya.com; www.WyndhamAlltra.com

Book new business in a Boston or Cambridge (MA) hotel and receive a 10% rebate off the banquet master bill and 10% off all rooms booked. Here are the eligible program dates to qualify: 2024: now through 03/31/2024; 2025: 11/18/2024 – 04/17/2025; and 2026: 11/17/2025 – 03/31/2026.

sales@meetboston.com; www.meetBoston.com

Wealth of Wellness package offered at Pueblo Bonito Resorts in Quivira, Los Cabos, Mexico.

I have a dear friend who believes the power of the beach overcomes any of the day’s negativity. She would go crazy for the ‘Wealth of Wellness’ package offered by Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts, located within the luxury residential development Quivira Los Cabos at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. The updated-for-2024-package integrates numerous wellness components available within the resort community. The exclusive five-day “Wealth of Wellness” package, available through December of 2024, includes all-inclusive F&B, two 50-minute organic massages or facials, mountain bike tour for two, use of beach cabanas with personal butler service, a cooking class for two, and shuttle service and access to sister properties, which also have all-inclusive F&B,

www.pueblobonito.com; (800) -990-8259


Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach, FL has renovated their guest rooms.

Sandpearl Resort, a prestigious gulf front resort on Clearwater Beach, FL, has renovated all guest rooms and suites. As part of “Seaside Chic” renovation, all the guest rooms and living space have gotten floor-to-ceiling makeovers in a more neutral tone color scheme with pops of sea-inspired blue shades in décor accessories. Modern touches, such as nightlight features under bathroom counters and mirrors, new venting systems guests can control, and additional USB ports have been added.


Buddy’s Boardwalk Empire at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, NJ opens this summer.

Buddy ‘Cake Boss’ Valastro will open Buddy’s Boardwalk Empire in the main lobby at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City (NJ) in early summer, This brand-new concept from Buddy Valastro’s Restaurant Group will offer guests an array of Jersey-style sandwiches, diverse selection of pizzas, innovative pasta station, and his iconic desserts and cakes fresh from New Jersey’s own Carlo’s Bake Shop. Taking the most popular items from The Boss Cafe by Buddy Valastro, Buddy’s Jersey Eats, and PizzaCake by Buddy Valastro in Las Vegas, diners can expect such faves as his Jersey Roast Beef focaccia-style sandwich. Because no Valastro concept would be complete without his signature desserts, sweet-lovers can get cannoli, Buddy’s famous Lobster Tail pastries and more from Carlo’s Bake Shop. “I’m so excited to launch a brand-new concept in my home state and bring the best bites from my restaurants in Vegas,” says Buddy Valastro. “Buddy’s Boardwalk Empire is another great step forward in my relationship with Caesars Entertainment and our development of fun dining concepts with Buddy Valastro’s Restaurant Group.  I can’t wait to open and bring out the famiglia!”


The Westin Los Angeles Airport (Los Angeles, CA) finished its $45 million renovation, including the hotel’s redone lobby and lounge area. There’s also a new Topgolf Swing Suite, 45 newly-installed EV charging stations , theater space, and a 13,100 sf ballroom. Four blocks from LAX Airport.



FFEA logo

Two scholarships programs are offered by the Florida Festivals & Events Association to attend the FFEA Annual Convention & Expo, August 20-22, 2024 at the Renaissance SeaWorld Resort (Orlando, FL). The Harvey Franklin Campbell Student Scholarship Award is open to current students studying at an event management related program. The Emerging Leader Scholarship Award is open to first-time conference attendees who have been employed in the industry for less than three years and have demonstrated a strong desire to positively affect the future of the event planning profession. The student scholarship includes lodging at FFEA’s conference hotel; Conference registration fee, which includes over 40 educational sessions, Tradeshow with 70 exhibitors and Live Entertainment Showcases; Complimentary ticket to the awards luncheon; and a complimentary one-year student membership in FFEA. The Emerging Leader scholarship includes registration fee, onsite lodging, conference meals and travel expenses to and from the conference site. Deadline to enter is April 11 for both scholarships. Check out all requirements and apply online.

www.ffea.com/p/convention/scholarships/student-scholarship; www.ffea.com/p/convention/scholarships/emerging-leader


‎ILEA Awards

Each year, the International Live Events Association (ILEA) has recognized and awards live events across 15 categories for planning to production, design to event. This year, a 16th category, Best Overall, has been added, so there will be Best Overall for Corporate Events, Nonprofit/Association Events, Private Events, Public Events, and Weddings. The other categories are: Catered; Design/Décor; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative; Entertainer/Entertainment; Event Capture; Innovation; Logistics; Makes an Impact/Gives Back; Marketing Campaign; Marketing Collateral; Multi-Day; Planning; Scenic Design/Installation or Exhibit Design; Technical Production; and Virtual. Any individual and/or company representative in the events industry is eligible to enter the Esprit Awards competition for events that occurred between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023.


One of Opal Collection’s golf courses.

Opal Collection (Delray Beach, Fl) has begun new online “Experiences” content for meeting planners to connect their groups and attendees with the local community through enhanced programming and engagement opportunities. On each meeting page of of the collection’s 20 hotels and resorts with meeting facilities, the curated programming is organized into four categories – Community, Energize, Sustainability and Wellness. The content includes several resort-centric teambuilding events and wellness classes as well. “The Opal Collection’s new ‘Experiences’ will be a game-changer for planners looking for exciting new ways to add meaning to their meetings or conferences through local engagement,” said Executive Director of Sales for Opal Collection David Keamy. “Our team worked with planners to identify the best ways for attendees to connect with each other, create memorable events, and serve the communities they’re visiting. By providing a list of verified suggestions, we’ve streamlined the process for meeting planners, saving them a lot of time and effort with an easy one-stop, online resource.” There is a wide variety of suggested experiences in each category. “Community” options include bike-building for the Boys & Girls Club, prepping hygiene kits for Clean the World, volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary, or participating in a coral reef restoration project. Options in the “Energize” section include scavenger hunts, be-your-own-bartender classes, kayak excursions and sandcastle building competitions. Groups interested in “Sustainability” will find opportunities for tree planting, beach cleanup, building a living Green Wall, maintaining trails with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and sea turtle support along Florida’s Atlantic shores. “Wellness” experiences include yoga and water aerobics classes, sound baths, salt therapy, and more.



One of the desserts made at the Keeter Center College of the Ozark’s campus farm-to-table restaurant.

The Keeter Center® (two miles South of downtown Branson, MO) won the Reader’s Choice award by the readers of ConventionSouth Magazine! To celebrate the award, the property is giving away a complimentary Bed & Breakfast Package for two in the Loft or Skyline Suites (based on availability) to the first place winner of a random drawing that will occur April 8. The winner will be contacted and will need to respond within 24 hours. The prize also includes a made-to-order breakfast, turndown service (including their famous cookies and milk), $50 dining credit, and extended checkout. Prize is valued at $750. The Keeter Center College of the Ozarks has nine meeting spaces (up to 320 people), a bakery, farm-to-fork dining, and a college creamery with ice cream made from the campus dairy.

(417) 239-1900; www.keetercenter.edu/Convention-South-Drawing


You have until June 10 to apply to be a Speaker for Catersource + The Special Event, to be held February 24-27 in the Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL.


Speakers: be part of the Ldinnovation™ Conference, December 7 – 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, West Hall, Las Vegas, NV. Sessions are generally 30 to 90 minutes and can range from a solo talk to a panel discussion on entertainment design and technology subjects. If you suggest a panel, please confirm that all speakers are available to attend LDI2023 before submitting your session. We are especially open to sessions led by an ETCP recognized trainer or with ETCP credits, so certified riggers and electricians can attend LDI to obtain renewal credits. LDI will be co-located with our sister show, DSE (Digital Signage Experience), so please consider sessions that would appeal to both audiences (projection on large LED screens; content creation; pixel mapping, etc.). Submission deadline: April 19. All speakers receive an LDI2024 conference badge as compensation ($745 value) and a speaker gift. LDI is not responsible for any travel or hotel costs associated with your attendance. All speakers in each session must be fully confirmed before you submit the session idea. Please make sure the written information correctly describes the session content in depth. Please indicate if the session is on a beginner, intermediate, or expert level. First-time speakers at LDI may be asked to provide two professional references that attest to their teaching ability and depth of knowledge.



Florida Festivals & Events Association Sunsational Award competition is open.

Florida Festivals and Events Association (FFEA) is now accepting entry applications for the 2024 SUNsational Awards. Deadline to enter is June 15. There are about 35 categories to be judged. For full info and to apply online: https://www.ffea.com/sunsational-awards. There is also a need for judges for the following categories: The following are the areas of expertise that we are looking for: Graphic Design, Social Media, Photography, Broadcast Media, Public Relations, Advertising, Event Programming and Virtual Events. Apply online at  https://www.ffea.com/sunsational-awards.


Three new major attractions will be featured at the opening for DreamWorks Land at Universal Studios Florida this summer. Escape from spooky spiders on the caterpillar Caterbus on the Trolls Trollercoaster. Meet and talk with Po on a digital animated screen during Po Live! At Shrek’s Swamp Meet you will meet Shrek, Fiona and Donkey outside Shrek’s cottage.



Scottsdale, AZ – www.experiencescottsdale.com/maps-guides/meeting-travel-planners-guide/

Stafford, VA has a meeting guide free for the request. https://form.jotform.com/240735819722057


April 2 – October 29: Bands On The Beach summer concert series held at Pensacola Beach, FL’s Gulfside Pavilion, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Santa Rosa Island Authority presents the series, featuring regional artists performing a wide variety of music every Tues Santa Rosa Island Authority | What’s Happening Bands on Beach (visitpensacolabeach.com) day evening at 7 pm. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. No pets and no glass allowed.

Info: SRIA at (850) 932-2257.  http://www.visitpensacolabeach.com/whats-happening-bands-on-beach/

April 8: Total Eclipse at the Park. Celestial spectacle of a total solar eclipse  for two over-the-moon celebrations in Irving, TX at Levy Event Plaza and at Heritage Park. Noon to 3 pm. Complimentary eclipse glasses and more. https://www.irvingtexas.com/eclipse/

April 11-13: PaddleFest 2024 at Big Lagoon State Park (Pensacola, FL). Water and land activities, including short and long guided paddles along inland rivers and the Intracoastal, guided hikes, and self-guided tours of local attractions. Catered meals and social gatherings. https://www.visitpensacola.com/events/paddlefest/

April 14: 2024 Rockin’ on the River Concert Series at Caloosa Sound Amphitheater (Fort Myers, FL). Los Lonely Boys and The Artimus Pyle Band – Honoring Ronnie Van Zant’s Lynyrd Skynyrd. 7 p.m. Small lawn chairs. No outside food or drink. https://caloosasoundamp.com/

May 4-5: The Islands of The Bahamas hosts the World Athletics Relays in Nassau. The world’s best sprinters from more than 50 countries will compete for a chance to qualify for the Paris Olympics. Space is limited.

May 23-27: Abbey Road on the River (AROTR) celebrates over 60 years since The Beatles revolutionized music on The Ed Sullivan Show stage in front of 74 million television viewers. AROTR has honored Beatlemania for the past 20 years. This year at Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville, IN, 50 bands from all around the world will perform on six stages. The festival will feature Beatles tribute band, The Fab Four, as well as other tribute bands like Jan & Dean’s Beach Party, Tony Kishman’s Live and Let Die: the music of Paul McCartney, and tributes to Queen, Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen, The Monkees, Chicago, CSNY, Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley. Local acts will include harpist Erin Hill, Louisville School Of Rock, The Rigbys, CMN Trio, Louisville Brass and Electric, The Get Down, Doorway, Nick Peay, The Kukes, Paulie Felice, and Laren Rapp.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased with a $20 discount through February 29 by using code LOVE at www.arotr.com.

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of International Live Events Association, Meeting Professionals International and the Society of Professional Journalists. She is now serving on the 2023-2024 MPI Independent and Small Business Owners Advisory Board. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. Karen@KarenKuzsel.com;   www.karenkuzsel.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady. She is also active with Experience Kissimmee CVB and Wedding Venue Map..